Jim Wallace left this earth to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on October 24, 2016. He passed away while in the comfort of home and with his loving family at his side. Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson Disease 10 years ago and the ravaging nature of his illness finally got the best of our strong father. He leaves behind his wife Mary Wallace, son Dan Wallace and wife Sandra, grandson Alex, daughter Susanne Cary and husband Scott, grandchildren Ben, Jessica, Nick, and John; daughter Jamie Zundel and husband Larry and grand-daughters Sarah and Katie.
Dad was born to Gladney and Grace Wallace on May 25, 1935 in Langley, Washington. Growing up in a poor farm family, dad learned to work hard at a young age. As a boy, he often recalled having to be out in the barn milking cows before school started and being teased in class for having remnants of the barn on his boots. A deep work ethic and providing for family was a prominent theme throughout dad’s life.
Determined to be college bound, he saved enough so he could attend Washington State College. While in school, he held a full time job to make tuition and also sent money home to support his mother and father. In addition, he was on the ROTC Rifle team which allowed him to travel nationally. He came close to finishing his degree, but the needs of his family forced him to quit and he returned to Whidbey Island. Not obtaining the bachelor’s degree was always a sore point for dad so he helped make sure his children and grandchildren could afford to go to college; an amazing gift and legacy.
Fate stepped in and Jim met Mary in 1963 while helping her fix her stalled car on the ferry. They were married on August 21st and grew a beautiful and caring family together. During the early years of their marriage, dad ran a brush business selling greens to the florist industry and employed many people on Whidbey to help in this endeavor. After the purchase of his first bulldozer, he started J.F. Wallace Company, doing mostly excavation work. His son, Dan, worked with him from the time he was just a teenager and in 1986, they started J & D Wallace General Contractors, Inc.
Dad had one hobby outside of work and that was flying. It was his true passion. He and mom took many trips to far off places in his plane. Our whole family benefited from his love of flight and were fortunate enough to ride along on some of his adventures.
A good neighbor, dad never hesitated to lend a helping hand to anyone who needed it. We recall dad taking his big and rugged wench fortified truck, and pulling stranded people out of ditches every time it snowed. As a volunteer firefighter for 30 plus years, it was not uncommon for him to get up in the middle of the night to respond to a fire emergency. Up until recently, he was cutting firewood for family and friends in need. Jim was a friend to many and his generous spirit will be missed.
We would like to thank all of dad’s friends and family who faithfully stood by him over the years. We would also like to thank the wonderful folks at WhidbeyHealth Hospice Care for their compassion and guidance. There will be a celebration of Dad’s life in a memorial service at Calvary Chapel on French Rd in Clinton at one o’clock on Saturday the 19th of November. With dad’s passion for aviation, in lieu of flowers, contributions to the AOPA flying scholarship fund can be made in the name of Jim F Wallace to the following address:
421 Aviation Way
Fredrick, MD 21701